While fruit juices may seem like a heathy drink to offer your young child, even unsweetened fruit juice is packed with sugars and acids that can damage children's teeth. Our Delta children’s dentists explain why water is the best thirst quencher for kids.
Juice vs Pop
Most parents are aware that soda pop contains a host of ingredients that can damage the teeth of children and adults alike, but did you know that many fruit juices are almost as damaging?
While some fruit juices may have more nutritional value than a typical serving of pop, juice can be just as damaging as pop to your child's teeth. Apple juice is just one example, some brands of 100% apple juice contain more sugar than an equivalent size cola! Which means that drinking juice regularly is as capable of causing damage to your child's teeth as drinking cola regularly. But why?
How does juice damage my child's teeth?
Each time that your child drinks fruit juice, pop or other beverages containing sugar, the bacteria in their mouth mixes with the sugars in the drink and creates a mild acid. Acid attacks tooth enamel, and can lead to tooth decay and cavities for your child.
But juice contains natural sugar, isn't that ok?
Whether the sugar your child consumes is naturally occurring, like the sugars found in fruit, or refined such as the sugars in pop, it will still react with the bacteria in your child's mouth the same way. While it may not be obvious, many of our favourite 'healthy' foods and drinks such as milk and fruit contain natural sugars. So, although it's true that unsweetened fruit juice contain no added sugars, these drinks are loaded with natural sugars that can lead to tooth decay.
Doesn't juice have less acid than pop?
Unfortunately, sugar isn't the only thing found in fruit juice that can damage your child's teeth. Juices (even vegetable juices) also contain naturally occurring acids. Much like sugar, fruit acids can also erode the enamel on your child's teeth.
What should I serve my kids?
While some fruit juices contain vitamins and minerals, the damage done to children's dental health by the sugars and acids in fruit juice far outweighs the nutritional benefits these drinks offer. To care for your child's teeth and supply all the nutrition that fruit has to offer, remember that an apple is far better than a glass of apple juice, and a cup of water is always the best choice for thirsty children.